Increase in industry-funded drug trials bad for public health, researcher says

first_img About the Author Reprints Related: Related: Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. @Pharmalot Ed Silverman [email protected] “Let’s say a company develops drug No. 121 for lowering blood pressure and it was tested against a placebo, and is proven better,” he explained. “What do I do with that information? There are 120 others out there. Which one do I prescribe? For that answer, you need more trials that compare different drugs and treatment approaches. For this, we need funding free from commercial interests.”He continued that industry-funded trials aren’t necessarily wrong, but “we contend that the sharp decline in NIH-funded trials is not good for public health because these are the trials that are most likely to inform decision makers about the best treatment options for patients.”Such notions are not new, but Ehrhardt noted the research appears to be the first time that an analysis was undertaken to compare funding sources of registered studies. But with a possible boost to NIH funding, the tide may turn.The 2014 NIH budget, which amounted to $30 billion, is 14 percent less than the 2006 budget, when adjusted for inflation, but the NIH is slated to get a $2 billion funding increase in the federal spending bill released today, which would mark the first time in more than 12 years the agency budget would receive such a big boost. Of course, this assumes the spending bill is passed.Ehrhardt suggested increased funding could be designated for specific research. He also believes that industry should team more often with independent investigators to run comparative studies. “The incentive to do this comes from public pressure,” he said, “because every company is interested in how they appear to the public. We need solutions and they don’t want to be seen as part of the problem.” Congress ready to give NIH its biggest increase in 12 years A proposed increase to the NIH’s budget may also increase the number of drug trials funded by the institute. Keith Srakocic/AP Why might this matter?Trials funded by drug makers may offer limited information, according to Dr. Stephan Ehrhardt, a coauthor and professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Companies typically test their medicines against a placebo in order to win regulatory approval, but this approach may not give physicians enough information to make the best treatment decisions, he said.advertisement Over the past decade, the number of clinical trials for drugs that were funded by the National Institutes of Health has dropped while the number of studies financed by drug companies has risen substantially. This is not a surprise, given the diminished NIH budget, but one researcher said this is detrimental to public health.Overall, the number of trials registered on ClinicalTrials.gov, the federal database, doubled from 9,321 in 2006 to 18,400 in 2014, according to a research letter published in the latest issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.Breaking that down, the number of industry-funded trials during that period rose 43 percent, while studies that were funded by the NIH fell by 24 percent. At the same time, financing from other federal agencies rose 29 percent and funding from still other sources — such as individuals, universities and organizations — rose by 227 percent.advertisement Tags clinical trialsdrug makersNIH Failure to report: A STAT investigation of clinical trials reporting PharmalotIncrease in industry-funded drug trials bad for public health, researcher says By Ed Silverman Dec. 16, 2015 Reprintslast_img read more

Superbug resistant to last-resort antibiotics now found on multiple continents

first_imgHealthSuperbug resistant to last-resort antibiotics now found on multiple continents This week, the Lancet Infectious Diseases published five more reports of work done by researchers in a number of countries who searched their databases for mcr-1. A group from the Netherlands identified the gene in E. coli found in stool samples collected from six travelers who had been on three different continents: South America (Bolivia, Peru), Africa (Tunisia), and Asia (Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia.)The travelers took part in a study in which stool samples were collected before and after foreign travel, providing a nice reminder that an antibiotic-resistant gene such as mcr-1 can journey the world over in the stomachs of healthy people while no one is the wiser, said Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University.Price said he hopes the rapid discovery of the gene across such a large expanse will serve as a wake-up call.Mcr-1 is a gene that gives bacteria that carry it resistance to a drug called colistin, the last antibiotic that can cure highly resistant infections. From a human point of view, that’s a very bad skill for bacteria to have.But it gets worse: This gene is carried on a plasmid, a mobile piece of DNA that that can be swapped from one bacterium to another within a family like E. coli, but also to other bacterial families as well.This gene can get around. And it clearly has been.After Chinese researchers reported the first discovery of mcr-1 on Nov. 18, researchers with access to databases containing the genetic sequences of E. coli, Salmonella, and other bacteria scrambled to search those collected codes for evidence of mcr-1. The hope, of course, was that this bug was contained to China.Not even close, it turns out. Two weeks later Danish researchers reported finding the gene in samples taken from one hospital patient and five commercial meat products. The earliest evidence of it in Denmark was from 2012.“I had really sincerely hoped not to see it,” Frank Aarestrup, head of the genomic epidemiology group at Denmark’s National Food Institute, told STAT the day he and his colleagues reported their finding. Tags antibioticsbacteriainfectious disease Helen Branswell Epidemiologists — people who track diseases — use an expression: Seek and ye shall find. It’s a reminder that sometimes when you see a phenomenon, it may not be entirely new. It may be that you’ve only just noticed it.Well, the world seems to be having a major seek-and-ye-shall-find moment right now with a worrisome new superbug.This week alone reports have emerged that the mcr-1 gene, which confers resistance to an important antibiotic of last-resort, has been found in bacteria previously collected in the Netherlands, Laos, Algeria, Thailand, and France. There is reason to believe it may also be circulating in Bolivia, Peru, Tunisia, Portugal, Malaysia, and possibly Vietnam and Cambodia.advertisement Pigs have been found to carry bacteria with the mcr-1 gene. Raul Arboleda/AFP/Getty Images New superbug in China threatens to defeat last-resort antibiotics The poultry meat in Denmark that turned up mcr-1 containing E. coli had been imported from Germany, which adds to the evidence that this gene is hopscotching around the globe.Colistin is actually not a great antibiotic — it can be toxic to the kidneys. In fact, for decades, it was rarely used. Other, newer antibiotics were easier to take, so doctors in the main stopped using colistin, which is probably why it still works.As the newer, better drugs have fallen prey to resistance, colistin has gained a new place of prestige in modern medicine. The World Health Organization actually declared it critically important for human medicine in 2012.But China has been using the drug in agriculture, which is what likely led to the development of mcr-1, experts believe.Price said the emergence of mcr-1 and the evidence of its wide spread is proof the time has come to draw some firm boundaries between the antibiotics that should be reserved for human use and those that can be used to treat infections in animals.Feeding antibiotics to pigs, cows, and other food animals as growth promoters, or to prevent the diseases that arise as a result of industrialized production practices, simply shouldn’t be allowed, he said.These developments come in a week when Congress upped spending on antibiotic resistance, increasing the pot being shared by a number of federal agencies by $303 million — a 64 percent bump.One might be tempted to see that as a sign that the US government is seized of the threat antibiotic resistance poses to modern medicine. But Price noted that none of that extra money was allocated to the Department of Agriculture, even though the agricultural sector uses many times more antibiotics than human medicine does.He thinks it is a sign of continued resistance to the need to limit agricultural use of antibiotics. “They do not want clear lines drawn,” Price said.This story was updated to include discussion of colistin’s agricultural use. Superbug resistant to last-resort antibiotics turns up in Europe center_img @HelenBranswell Related: About the Author Reprints The journal that has published many of these findings, the Lancet Infectious Diseases, indicated on its Twitter feed Friday that it has more mcr-1 reports in its hopper: “There will be another wave of reports soon.”This is in addition to Denmark and Britain. Scientists in those two countries reported finding the bacterial resistance gene earlier this month. All these findings have come to light in the month — one single month — since Chinese scientists made the first-ever report of mcr-1.advertisement Senior Writer, Infectious Disease Helen covers issues broadly related to infectious diseases, including outbreaks, preparedness, research, and vaccine development. By Helen Branswell Dec. 18, 2015 Reprints Related:last_img read more

Hair testing for drug use gains traction — but critics say the science needs to catch up

first_imgPoliticsHair testing for drug use gains traction — but critics say the science needs to catch up Please enter a valid email address. Alissa Ambrose/STAT The findings made headlines when they came out recently — more Americans failing workplace drug checks than at any time in the last decade.Quest Diagnostics’s report in September that workforce drug use had reached a 10-year high came from an analysis of more than 10.5 million drug tests that the company conducted for employers in 2015. Most of those tests used urine or saliva. But 200,000 tests were performed on hair, and those tests showed the greatest increase, the report found.But those findings might not be what they appear. Hair testing for drug use, available for decades, is a developing science. The tests are offered by a number of private testing companies, and approved by the FDA, but the federal government doesn’t currently recognize hair as a reliable sample for federally regulated programs. And studies over the years have indicated that hair can absorb drugs in the environment and may show higher concentrations in dark-colored hair, leading to possible racial bias.advertisement The hairy detailsHair testing has been widely available since the 1980s. Testing labs take about 120 strands of straight hair, or a cotton-ball-sized sample of curly hair, to do the analysis. After washing, the hair is dissolved in solvents. The resulting liquid is analyzed using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry to identify any drug metabolites that may be present.The premise is that as new hair cells form in the hair follicle, they absorb molecules of substances circulating in the blood. Those molecules get embedded into the hair cells, creating a permanent, chemical record that stays in the hair as it grows out of the skin.Drug molecules can appear in the follicle within minutes of ingestion, and remain detectable for up to 90 days in most cases. Testing companies thus market the test to employers as offering more information than urine tests.“Employers are interested in hair testing as a kind of lifestyle test,” said Barry Sample, a pharmacologist and head of science and technology for Quest. More employers are using the test, Sample said, because of the opioid epidemic. By Leah Samuel Nov. 1, 2016 Reprints However there are signs that the tests are coming into the mainstream. The Department of Health and Human Services is in the process of evaluating hair testing (alongside saliva testing) as a potential addition to the federal employee screening process. It expects to release guidance by the end of this year. That could mean that many federal agencies, military members, organizations receiving federal grants, and large government contractors could be adopting hair testing in the future.Meanwhile, a case awaiting a ruling at the Federal Court of Appeals for the First Circuit rests on whether hair testing is racially discriminatory, a question that is sure to come up in HHS’s ongoing deliberations about the technique.advertisement Tags cocaineillegal drugsmarijuanapolicycenter_img But the hair test doesn’t do these tasks as well as it needs to, according to two lawsuits on behalf of Boston police officers fired between 2001 and 2006 after drug testing on their hair turned up positive for cocaine.The plaintiffs denied that they used cocaine in state and federal lawsuits filed in 2012. In the state case, which involves six officers, the plaintiffs argued that the test is not accurate enough to alone determine drug use. Last month, the Massachusetts Appeals Court ruled for the officers’ reinstatement, upholding an earlier decision that “the risk of a false positive test was great enough to require additional evidence to terminate an officer.”The federal lawsuit, on the other hand, contends that hair testing is subject to possible racial bias. The case was heard by the Federal Court of Appeals for the First Circuit last month and is now awaiting a ruling.“The hair test cannot distinguish between ingested drugs and environmental exposure,” said Ivan Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice, which is representing the officers in the federal lawsuit.Like cigarettes, smoked drugs such as marijuana, crystal meth, and crack cocaine can contaminate the air — and hair — around them, according to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The report also points out that close contact with a drug user could also contaminate hair.Labs are supposed to take steps to prevent that kind of contamination, said Sabra Botch-Jones, a forensic toxicologist and researcher at Boston University School of Medicine. Pre-washing the hair is “supposed to take away external contaminants or anything that would affect or impede analysis,” Botch-Jones said.She added, however, that decontaminating a hair sample can be tricky, since cleaning procedures can vary depending on which drugs are being tested for. “You don’t want to perform so many wash steps that you destroy what you’re looking for.”And sometimes, it might be impossible to wash drug residues from hair.“You can wash it off, if it’s fresh,” said David Kidwell, a chemist and researcher who has been a paid consultant on court cases, including the Boston police case. “But if it sits there awhile, you can’t. Cocaine, in particular, degrades into the hair to the point where the hair can look like a drug user’s hair.”The role of melaninAnd different hair types bind drugs differently, some studies have found, due to the concentration of melanin, the pigment that darkens hair.A 1998 study, for example, found that people with dark hair retained more cocaine in their hair than people with lighter hair colors. In that study, although all subjects had received the same dose of cocaine, “the non-Caucasians in this study had between 2 and 12 times as much [cocaine] in their hair as did Caucasians.” Another study, of hair samples mixed with cocaine in the lab, found that dark hair did bind more cocaine than light hair, but African-American hair was roughly the same in this regard as brown/black hair on white individuals.A 2010 study concluded that “melanin content plays an important role in the degree of incorporation of morphine, codeine and their metabolites into hair.” That’s also true for amphetamines, suggested a 2012 study.And African-American hair may be more likely to be damaged in such a way that the melanin is accessible.“The cuticle [the outer part of the hair shaft] of African-Americans’ hair tends to be more damageable, and more damaged,” Kidwell said. “They put stuff on their hair, like emulsifiers and humectants, that allow the drugs in the environment to penetrate the hair more easily, especially if they’re making their hair straight with heat or chemicals.”In the case of the Boston Police Department, more than four times as many black officers tested positive via the hair test, from 1999 to 2006, as did white officers — a figure that indicates “we can be almost certain that the difference in outcomes associated with race over that period cannot be attributed to chance alone,” the appeals court wrote in a 2014 decision on the case. However, the police department pointed out that no Asian-Americans on the force had ever had a positive test.That decision sent the case back to the trial court, which ruled against the officers. It has now returned to the appeals court. Newsletters Sign up for Morning Rounds Your daily dose of news in health and medicine. Leave this field empty if you’re human: Sample said he is familiar with research finding hair testing to be discriminatory.“I’m not sure I buy that,” said Sample. “I don’t believe those studies represent real-world conditions,” he said, pointing to the fact that many studies weren’t done on intact hair.Sample acknowledged the melanin issue but said, “That’s not really an ethnic bias, but a hair-color bias, affecting dark hair. And it’s only for certain drugs, like cocaine.”He insisted that the hair test does not discriminate. And a number of other court cases have found similarly, allowing hair testing to stand in job terminations and revocations of parole.The question of the test’s accuracy is likely to take on even more relevance, however, as HHS considers whether to accept hair samples for federal drug testing programs. Public comment on the proposed rule by SAMHSA concluded in June 2015, and a final rule is forthcoming.The technology of hair testing has dramatically improved, according to a presentation made by drug testing expert J. Michael Walsh to the group in 2013. “The methods have improved significantly over the last 25 years,” he told meeting attendees, according to a transcript of the presentation. “Lab performance has improved, the ability to detect small or minute amounts of drugs has improved with enhanced technology, and the criteria for what constitutes a positive test has also changed dramatically.”Still, later in the presentation, he acknowledged high on the list of outstanding “scientific concerns” the issues of environmental contamination and hair color bias.Some attorneys and scientists suggest that hair testing might best be used for clinical purposes, not forensic ones. Kidwell said that while hair testing might be useful in research, it’s less useful in deciding whether someone should get or keep a job.“It’s best to use hair as a screening test and then follow up with urine testing,” he said. “And don’t take punitive measures based on hair testing.” Privacy Policy Scientists discover why our hair thins as we age Related:last_img read more

From $360 a year to $179,000: Drug price hike in the Netherlands prompts call for investigation

first_img What’s included? Tags drug pricingpharmaceuticalsrare diseaseSTAT+ Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free! GET STARTED Log In | Learn More A new organization dedicated to eradicating high drug prices in the Netherlands has found what it believes is its first example — and will ask the government to investigate.At issue is a medicine known as CDCA that is used to treat people with cerebrotendinous xanthomatosis, or CTX, a rare genetic metabolic disease. An earlier version had been available for decades at a low cost, but was purchased by a company that later took the drug off the market. Last year, however, the company was granted marketing exclusivity by regulators and, at the re-launch, boosted the price many times over. STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. @Pharmalot By Ed Silverman Aug. 27, 2018 Reprints Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. [email protected] center_img About the Author Reprints Ed Silverman Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmalot APStock GET STARTED What is it? From $360 a year to $179,000: Drug price hike in the Netherlands prompts call for investigation last_img read more

How the not-for-profit Civica Rx will disrupt the generic drug industry

first_imgFirst OpinionHow the not-for-profit Civica Rx will disrupt the generic drug industry Bottles of prescription drugs are filled at the central pharmacy of Intermountain Healthcare in Midvale, Utah. Intermountain is one of the founding health care organizations of Civica Rx, which aims to make essential generic medications accessible and affordable. George Frey/Getty Images About the Author Reprints A pharma exec raised the price of antibiotic by 400 percent — and the government can’t do much about it In response to high pharmaceutical prices and their harmful impact on American consumers, President Trump has proposed lowering Medicare drug prices by tying them to the lower prices that other industrialized countries pay for the same drugs. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a 2020 presidential contender, has proposed creating a government-run pharmaceutical manufacturer to mass produce generic medicines in order to lower prices. Tags pharmaceuticals They also know what constitutes a reasonable cost. That means they can make commitments in advance to purchase specific amounts of medications from Civica Rx at predetermined prices long into the future. Not a penny of profit will be paid out. Any excess funds will be invested back into the organization to perpetuate its not-for-profit mission. Within three to five years, Civica Rx expects to offer its member hospitals up to 100 generic medicines.The company will operate on a membership model, with several levels of membership that will allow access for all hospitals, regardless of size. Members will range from small community hospitals of fewer than two dozen beds to the largest hospital systems in the nation.This membership system will ensure that Civica Rx’s long-term volume commitments will let it lock in prices that are both reasonable and transparent. The same price per unit will be offered to each hospital, and no hospital will be able to scoop up the supply.Locking in prices will ensure stability and consistency in both drug availability and cost. It also allows Civica Rx to commit to supplying its partners with the volumes of medications they need over the long term. That’s the key to enabling the company to produce specific drugs. With many health systems working together, we have the capacity to inject competition into the generic drug marketplace, an injection that is long overdue.Marc Harrison, M.D., is president and CEO of Intermountain Healthcare, based in Salt Lake City, a governing member of Civica Rx. Here’s an idea that won’t cost taxpayers a dime: a not-for-profit generic drug company that will shake up the marketplace and benefit the American people. That’s the idea behind Civica Rx, a not-for-profit company formed by three philanthropies and numerous health care organizations that represent about 800 U.S. hospitals. One of the founding health care organizations is Intermountain Healthcare, where I am president and CEO. Martin VanTrieste, the former chief quality officer for Amgen, is serving without compensation as the CEO of Civica Rx.advertisement Elizabeth Warren has a new way to lower drug prices: have the government make medicines In 2015, Turing bought the rights to Daraprim, the trade name of generic pyrimethamine, and raised its price from $13.50 a pill to $750, which boosted the cost of a normal course of treatment from about $1,350 to $75,000. An internal Intermountain Healthcare analysis indicated that a not-for-profit manufacturer can produce and sell pyrimethamine for $3.50 per tablet, which is less than 0.5 percent of the price of Daraprim after it was acquired by Turing ($750) and 25 percent of the price before the acquisition ($13.75).Two main things allow companies like Turing and Nostrum to jack up their prices: limited supplies of the drugs and the ease with which a pharmaceutical company with deep pockets can undercut anyone who’d consider investing in a competitor by drastically reducing the price long enough to put them out of business. Civica Rx’s not-for-profit model will correct that situation.With the clout of its large volume commitments, Civica Rx is creating its own market. The participating institutions know how much of each medication they need, and have records that reveal it with great precision. Marc Harrison Related: @MarcHarrisonMD The generic drug industry should cause prices for medications to drop. But lately it has been engaging in price gouging and making it difficult to obtaining some vital medications.You’ve heard the stories: a 5,000 percent increase by Turing Pharmaceuticals for one tablet of generic pyrimethamine, which is used to treat toxoplasmosis, a rare infection; a 2,800 percent price increase in a single year for digoxin, a commonly prescribed heart medication.The chief executive of Nostrum Laboratories, a generic pharmaceutical company, even argued there is a “moral requirement … to sell the product at the highest price,” as he defended a 500 percent increase in the price of nitrofurantoin, a generic drug used to treat bladder infections that is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.advertisement By Marc Harrison March 14, 2019 Reprints Related: Our company has a different moral requirement than that of Nostrum and many other generic drug companies: to put patients and their needs first.Unlike for-profit companies, Civica Rx is a public asset whose mission is to ensure that essential generic medications are accessible and affordable. These are drugs that have emerged from the patent-protection period and are in the public domain. The company will work to ensure they remain that way.Civica Rx will draw on the collective volume of commitments from its member health care organizations to serve the public good. It will initially focus on 14 hospital-administered generic drugs and expects to have its first products on the market this year.Shortly after the launch of Civica Rx in September 2018, more than 120 health organizations that represent about one-third of the nation’s hospitals contacted the company and expressed their commitment to the venture or interest in participating with it. Civica Rx is also collaborating with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which could bring its considerable buying power to the table and would likewise benefit greatly from less-expensive generic medications.The challenge is clear. Take the example of nitrofurantoin. Nostrum Laboratories raised the price of a bottle of the drug from $474.75 to $2,392, according to Elsevier’s Gold Standard Drug Database. In an interview, Nirmal Mulye, Nostrum’s chief executive, defended the quintupling of the price, saying, “We have to make money when we can. The price of iPhones goes up, the price of cars goes up, hotel rooms are very expensive.”FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb responded on Twitter:1/2 Regarding @FT story today @bydavidcrow; there’s no moral imperative to price gouge and take advantage of patients. FDA will continue to promote competition so speculators and those with no regard to public health consequences can’t take advantage of patients who need medicine— Scott Gottlieb, M.D. (@SGottliebFDA) September 11, 2018last_img read more

Vertex’s new cystic fibrosis drug needs to be far cheaper to be cost effective, analysis finds

first_img Pharmalot Columnist, Senior Writer Ed covers the pharmaceutical industry. What is it? A newly approved treatment from Vertex Pharmaceuticals (VRTX) that targets roughly 90% of all cystic fibrosis patients may be a groundbreaking therapy, but requires a steep discount of at least 73% to be cost effective, a new analysis finds. And three older cystic fibrosis treatments sold by the company would also have to be similarly discounted in order to justify their pricing.Notably, the Trikafta medication, which was approved last fall by the Food and Drug Administration amid widespread praise, would need to be priced at $67,900 to $85,500 a year, according to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit that conducted the analysis. This is dramatically less than the current wholesale price of $311,740 for the drug, which patients must take for their entire lives. Log In | Learn More Pharmalot About the Author Reprints Ed Silverman @Pharmalot By Ed Silverman April 27, 2020 Reprints GET STARTEDcenter_img Daily reporting and analysis The most comprehensive industry coverage from a powerhouse team of reporters Subscriber-only newsletters Daily newsletters to brief you on the most important industry news of the day STAT+ Conversations Weekly opportunities to engage with our reporters and leading industry experts in live video conversations Exclusive industry events Premium access to subscriber-only networking events around the country The best reporters in the industry The most trusted and well-connected newsroom in the health care industry And much more Exclusive interviews with industry leaders, profiles, and premium tools, like our CRISPR Trackr. Unlock this article — plus daily coverage and analysis of the pharma industry — by subscribing to STAT+. First 30 days free. GET STARTED Vertex’s new cystic fibrosis drug needs to be far cheaper to be cost effective, analysis finds Bill Sikes/AP What’s included? STAT+ is STAT’s premium subscription service for in-depth biotech, pharma, policy, and life science coverage and analysis. Our award-winning team covers news on Wall Street, policy developments in Washington, early science breakthroughs and clinical trial results, and health care disruption in Silicon Valley and beyond. [email protected] Tags drug pricingpharmaceuticalsSTAT+last_img read more

When the treatment is torture: ICE must stop using solitary confinement for Covid-19 quarantine

first_img ICE’s use of solitary confinement and lockdowns as a substitute for quarantine amid soaring infection rates simply highlights the sheer inability of detention centers to implement CDC-recommended public health measures and keep those under its custody safe.Health and legal professionals, including the Department of Homeland Security’s own medical experts and the former head of ICE, have already called for the large-scale release of those in detention. The public health risks are reason enough, but the cruelty of using solitary confinement in the name of protecting the well-being of immigrants — including many asylum seekers who were victims of torture before entering the U.S. — is another reason it cannot be ignored.The Department of Homeland Security has long been aware of ICE’s inappropriate use of segregation, and legislation has been proposed to curb the practice. Congress, so far, has failed to act. But this crisis presents an opportunity for redemption. The pandemic may have forced us to pull away from each other, but we maintain hope it can also inspire us to recognize, and act upon, our shared humanity.Samara Fox is a resident psychiatrist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston who previously worked as an immigration attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services. Ellen Gallagher is an attorney and former policy adviser at the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. J. Wesley Boyd is a staff psychiatrist at Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Mass., a co-director of its Human Rights/Asylum Clinic, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and a faculty member in the HMS Center for Bioethics. Trending Now: [email protected] Samara Fox @JWesleyBoydMD Comparing the Covid-19 vaccines developed by Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson After months of social distancing, many of us are feeling its effects. Experts have delineated the mental and physical health impacts of isolation caused by the pandemic, and those who have experienced home quarantine have been particularly vulnerable to loneliness and depression.Imagine though, if quarantine meant you were confined to a single bare room and deprived of the things that could keep you happy and sane — video chats with loved ones, digital entertainment, a sense of purpose through work, and of course, occasional human contact.Yet that has been the experience of the pandemic for many in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention, where isolation in a single cell is being used as a substitute for medical quarantine. Attorneys and other advocates have begun reporting ICE’s inappropriate use of solitary confinement to media outlets and the court system.advertisement Ellen Gallagher Adobe First OpinionWhen the treatment is torture: ICE must stop using solitary confinement for Covid-19 quarantine Newsletters Sign up for First Opinion A weekly digest of our opinion column, with insight from industry experts. [email protected] center_img Some in ICE custody have recounted their experiences in sworn court documents: Oscar Perez Aguirre, who is being detained in Aurora, Colo., became ill with Covid-19 and needed to be hospitalized. Upon his return to the detention center, he was placed into “the Hole.” Despite being too sick to stand, he remained in segregation for more than two weeks in a cell he described as “filthy and freezing.” Ruben Mencias Soto, a detained person in Adelanto, Calif., was placed in a bare cinderblock room after his hospitalization. He was locked in by himself for 23 hours a day. About the Authors Reprints Now that Covid-19 has spread through detention centers across the country, ICE has made it clear that it views solitary confinement as an appropriate public health response to the pandemic.A punishment by design, solitary confinement is so deleterious to mental health that in 2011, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Torture condemned its use apart from exceptional circumstances and for as short a time as possible. ICE is making no such limitations.The mental health effects of living in such an environment are well-documented. Research going back to the 1970s has shown that just one week of isolation results in significant changes to baseline brain activity and recent animal experiments have demonstrated the impact of social isolation on parts of the brain that help regulate mood.Stuart Grassian, a psychiatrist who has spent his career studying solitary confinement, has reported that it can cause hallucinations, panic attacks, paranoia, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Forced isolation for as little as five days is also correlated with increased risk of PTSD and suicide. Choung Woong Ahn, a detained person at the Mesa Verde ICE facility in California, was placed in Covid-19 medical isolation on May 15 and died by suicide two days later.As we write this, 862 people in ICE detention centers have tested positive for Covid-19. As medical professionals have explained, solitary confinement and unit lockdowns are insufficient for preventing disease transmission, and epidemiologists have predicted that at least 72% of the more than 21,000 individuals in immigration detention will become infected. There are also legitimate concerns that sick people put in solitary confinement will receive inadequate medical care. By Samara Fox, Ellen Gallagher, and J. Wesley Boyd Aug. 7, 2020 Reprints Leave this field empty if you’re human: ICE has a history of inappropriately using solitary confinement cells for the “medical segregation” of individuals sick with cancer, tuberculosis, mumps, HIV, and mental illness, a practice one of us (E.G.) exposed while working for the Department of Homeland Security. We have collectively reviewed hundreds of ICE documents, called segregation reports, detailing instances where individuals were placed in solitary confinement. As medical professionals, two of us (S.F. and J.W.B.) have performed hundreds of forensic psychiatric evaluations of asylum seekers, some of whom had been held in solitary confinement for months, and have seen the devastating mental and physical repercussions.advertisement J. Wesley Boyd Please enter a valid email address. Tags Coronavirusgovernment agenciesmental health Privacy Policy [email protected] last_img read more

Health Matters: Local Parathyroid Surgery

first_imgAdvertisementBut if doctors believe the lump is suspicious, patients may need to undergo surgery to remove a portion of the entire gland. Both procedures can be done at Lee Health. Keeping patients close to home for care.View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health – Caring People. Inspiring Care. Advertisement AdvertisementDC Young Fly knocks out heckler (video) – Rolling OutRead more6 comments’Mortal Kombat’ Exceeded Expectations Says WarnerMedia ExecutiveRead more2 commentsDo You Remember Bob’s Big Boy?Read more1 commentsKISS Front Man Paul Stanley Reveals This Is The End Of KISS As A Touring Band, For RealRead more1 comments Health Matters: Scoliosis Treatment for Children June 13, 2021 Health Matters: A Partnership in Medical Care June 13, 2021 Advertisement While their names sound similar, doctors say the thyroid gland and the parathyroid glands function very differently. “Anatomy, they are close to each other but they are completely separate gland and separate function,” said Dr. Moutaa BenMaamer, a general surgeon with Lee Health.Both glands are located in the neck and serve a powerful purpose—The thyroid gland produces a hormone that regulates metabolism, while the parathyroid is actually four smaller glands that produce hormones to control the calcium levels in the blood. “The parathyroid, the problem is not well known,” he said.Doctors say parathyroidism is common and can cause symptoms like bone pain, kidney stones, and GI symptoms. “The surgery is very efficient and should give you the cure for this disease,” Dr. BenMaamer said.Other things patients should pay attention to is if they develop a lump in the neck—this could be related to the thyroid gland. “The issue with the thyroid, it’s very common to have what they call a nodule, a nodule is simply an overgrowth that the gland has. It’s extremely, extremely common, especially with women,” he said.center_img AdvertisementTags: Dr. BenMaamergeneral surgeonHealth MattersLee Healthparathyroidsurgery Donors with O+ blood type needed at Lee Health June 17, 2021 RELATEDTOPICS Health Matters: Helping Children with Chest Wall Malformation June 13, 2021 AdvertisementRecommended ArticlesBrie Larson Reportedly Replacing Robert Downey Jr. As The Face Of The MCURead more81 commentsGal Gadot Reportedly Being Recast As Wonder Woman For The FlashRead more29 commentslast_img read more

Subject making violent threats inside Cape Coral home, police on scene

first_imgCape Coral canal levels remain low even after recent rains June 17, 2021 CAPE CORAL, Fla. – Police were at the scene of a distraught subject making violent threats in their home in Cape Coral. According to the Cape Coral Police Department, officers were in the 600 block of SE 11th Avenue around 5 p.m.The subject was contained in their home, police said. Officers asked nearby residents to say in their homes until the situation is resolved. Others were asked to stay away from the area. RELATEDTOPICS 27 Cape Coral bridges up for repairs after minor cracks found June 17, 2021 Advertisement Cape Coral man tries to figure out meaning of his 25-year-old tattoos June 16, 2021 AdvertisementDC Young Fly knocks out heckler (video) – Rolling OutRead more6 comments’Mortal Kombat’ Exceeded Expectations Says WarnerMedia ExecutiveRead more2 commentsDo You Remember Bob’s Big Boy?Read more1 commentsKISS Front Man Paul Stanley Reveals This Is The End Of KISS As A Touring Band, For RealRead more1 commentscenter_img AdvertisementThe scene cleared Advertisement AdvertisementRecommended ArticlesBrie Larson Reportedly Replacing Robert Downey Jr. As The Face Of The MCURead more81 commentsGal Gadot Reportedly Being Recast As Wonder Woman For The FlashRead more29 comments AdvertisementTags: Cape Coralcape coral police department Cape Coral break in foiled by barking dog June 17, 2021last_img read more

Immokalee man arrested for shooting wife in Ave Maria

first_imgVideo Player is loading.Play VideoPlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently behind liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 1xPlayback RateChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedAudio TrackFullscreenThis is a modal window. The Video Cloud video was not found. Error Code: VIDEO_CLOUD_ERR_VIDEO_NOT_FOUND AdvertisementA witness, who were working in the kitchen, told deputies he heard the door buzzer at the back of the kitchen go off. The sheriff’s office said he opened the door for Govea, who asked if the woman was there. Once inside, Govea pulled out a gun and shot the woman, deputies said. He then, left the scene and was later found on Everglades Boulevard on the I-75 overpass standing by his truck. Govea was arrested for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Session ID: 2021-06-17:f790ab07fa12d9b51c77e41 Player Element ID: vjs_video_3 OK Close Modal DialogBeginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 1xPlayback RateFullscreen AdvertisementDC Young Fly knocks out heckler (video) – Rolling OutRead more6 comments’Mortal Kombat’ Exceeded Expectations Says WarnerMedia ExecutiveRead more2 commentsDo You Remember Bob’s Big Boy?Read more1 commentsKISS Front Man Paul Stanley Reveals This Is The End Of KISS As A Touring Band, For RealRead more1 comments RELATEDTOPICS Two teens arrested in Cape Coral shooting investigation June 16, 2021 Ex-wife of Palm Beach Publix killer responds to sheriff’s criticism June 16, 2021 COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – An Immokalee man was arrested Saturday after a woman was shot inside Arthrex in Ave Maria. Detectives with the Collier County Sheriff’s Office confirmed Dominic Govea, 39, was arrested after the incident happened a little before 6 a.m.Collier County deputies said the woman was found in the kitchen of the Arthrex complex on Arthrex Commerce Drive. She was bleeding from gunshot injuries to her right leg. The scene was secured, and a BOLO was issued for Govea, who was identified as the woman’s husband, according to Collier County deputies. The woman was taken to NCH for treatment. center_img Woman shot outside Naples Waffle House June 16, 2021 Collier school resource officers teach kids how to fish on first day of “Summerfest” June 16, 2021 Advertisement AdvertisementTags: Ave MariaCollier County Sheriff’s Officeshooting Advertisement AdvertisementRecommended ArticlesBrie Larson Reportedly Replacing Robert Downey Jr. As The Face Of The MCURead more81 commentsGal Gadot Reportedly Being Recast As Wonder Woman For The FlashRead more29 commentslast_img read more